The ESPYS, which are kind of like the MTV Movie & TV Awards for sports, have dropped their nominations for the various awards this year, and Tyson Fury, Shakur Stevenson, Katie Taylor, and Mikaela Mayer are up for Best Boxer.
Fury, Stevenson, and Mayer are all ESPN and Top Rank house fighters. Taylor is the only non-ESPN fighter nominated.
I’m not exactly clear on what the period is for criteria, since this is not one of the major awards at the event and other sports leagues end at various times, so they try to fit in the end of the sports seasons into it all. Like, for instance, the Golden State Warriors and Colorado Avalanche — who just won the NBA Championship and Stanley Cup, respectively — are up for “Best Team,” but so are the Atlanta Braves, who won the World Series last year.
But here’s what these nominees have done in what I can guess is the voting period.
- Defeated Deontay Wilder in an incredible third fight last October.
- Knocked out Dillian Whyte in front of 90,000 or whatever at Wembley Stadium in April.
- Defeated Jamel Herring to win the WBO junior lightweight title last October.
- Beat Oscar Valdez to unify the WBO and WBC titles in April.
- Beat Jennifer Han last September.
- Beat Firuza Sharipova last December.
- Beat Amanda Serrano in a genuinely historic event at Madison Square Garden, a great fight and tremendous atmosphere, in April. Reigned as undisputed lightweight champion throughout.
- Beat Maiva Hamadouche to unify the WBO and IBF junior lightweight titles in November.
- Beat Jennifer Han in April to retain the belts.
Obviously there are lots of people you could nominate instead. Dmitry Bivol, Devin Haney, Oleksandr Usyk, Errol Spence Jr, Naoya Inoue, but I think it’s pretty clear that these nominations did not come from Hard Core Die Hard Boxing Heads, nor is the award much meant to impress them. Most likely, it is meant mainly to push the ESPN boxing brand, and it was decided that Taylor would get the one non-ESPN nomination instead of someone else.